St Petersburg State Academic Ballet Theatre of Boris Eifman was founded in 1977. The theatre which was called Leningrad Ballet Ensemble originally appeared as the author’s one, the theatre of one choreographer which was a unique event in those days. Having neither stage, nor permanent rehearsal space, with a small group of dancers, the theatre managed to produce the strongest impression with its very first program; those who saw Two Voices with Alla Osipenko and John Markovsky still remember the show as a shock. The ballet Boomerang also became a brave experiment about which The New York Times wrote an article under the title: Boris Eifman is the man who dared. Just using the music of Pink Floyd, D. Mc Laflin, R. Wakeman (YES) equaled a riot, and combining that music with strikingly emotional, free from academic cliches choreography brought Eifman the reputation of choreographic dissident.
The repertoire created by the ballet master amazed with the variety of genres: chamber ballet programs (Autographs, Metamorphoses), comic ballets (The Marriage Of Figaro, The Twelfth Night, The Intrigues Of Love), parable ballets (The Legend), fairy tale ballets ( The Firebird, Pinoccio). An important place in the creative activity of the theatre is occupied by the shows staged after world classics’ literary works. In The Idiot ballet which was the first address to Dostoevsky on Russian ballet stage, the talent of Valery Mikhailovky who later became the brightest star of the troupe, was revealed. The Duel (after story by Kuprin). Among the recent works of the theatre that were appreciated everywhere in the world are The Requiem, Tchaykovsky, Don Quixote Or Fantasies Of A Madman, The Karamazovs, The Red Giselle, My Jeruselem.
Boris Eifman is a philosopher in choreography. The problems of our time worry him, strange as it may seem, the solutions for them he finds in the works of Dostoevsky. He is excited by mysteries of creation and by the magic of geniuses that are revealed in his interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s characters or ballet dancer Olga Spesivtseva. He experiments with such dark and dangerous sphere as human psyche, and many of his ballets become examples of scenic psychoanalysis. He strives to show extreme conditions of a human being, considering madness not a disease but ability to transfer to the worlds of fantasies and mirages.
The shows of St Petersburg Ballet Theatre are extremely theatrical, they are a kind of amalgamation of reality and fantasy which is one of the strongest emotional methods of Boris Eifman. “My theatre is a theatre of open emotional experience. Creating my mystery where the characters live by my rules, I’m creating my own world with its catastrophes. This is my own cardiogram, the rhythm of my pulse, its eruptions, shocks, culminations, ups and downs”, says Boris Eifman.
Eifman’s troupe has no analogs in Russia. In September 1997 the theatre for the first time performed in Moscow on the stage of the Bolshoi Theatre. Before that not a single ballet troupe performed on that prestigious stage. That’s how St Petersburg Ballet Theatre celebrated its twentieth anniversary. Today performing on the Bolshoi Theatre stage became a tradition. Having secured its position the theatre continues to develop, receives public acceptance: St Petersburg Ballet Theatre won all the main theatrical prizes of Russia. Boris Eifman is People’s Artist of Russia, a laureate of The Golden Masque prize (Tchaykovsky ballet), Golden Stagelight prize (ballets Tchaykovsky, The Karamazovs, The Red Giselle), Triumph prize. The theatre soloists were awarded prestigious theatre prizes: in 1996 Albert Galichanin was awarded The Golden Masque prize, in 1997 this prize was given to Igor Markov. The highest theatre prize of St Petersburg The Golden Stagelight was given to Igor Markov and Vera Arbuzova. On the basis of the theatre’s shows a number of ballet TV versions were made, as well as programs dedicated to the group’s creative search.
Boris Eifman’s Ballet Theatre won world acceptance touring America, Europe, Asia, Africa where they performed on the most prestigious stages. During the first tour in New York the American press called Boris Eifman the leading ballet master of the world.
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